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Hopenchange Women Can Believe In?

As everyone knows, California is in a financial crisis to beat all crises and is looking for every way possible to cut costs. The most recent cost cutting measure it has taken is its implementation of the US Preventative Services Task Force's mammogram recommendation (via Hot Air):

The eligibility age for state-subsidized breast cancer screening has been raised from 40 to 50 by the California Health and Human Services Agency, which will also temporarily stop enrollment in the breast cancer screening program.

Advocates for low-income women, whose health care the department helps pay for, say the cuts put a two-tier system in place that is based on money rather than medical standards.

The cuts will greatly harm the clinic's mammogram program, said Natasha Riley, manager of Vista Community Clinic's Breast Health Outreach and Education Program.

The clinic and others like it in San Diego County provide reduced-cost care, mostly to low-income people, with money from the state and some private donations.

"More than 50 percent of the women we give breast exams and mammograms to are in their 40s," Riley said. "The majority of our current breast cancer survivors are women in their 40s."

The state's decision, announced Dec. 1 and effective Jan. 1, follows a controversial federal recommendation last month that mammograms before the age of 50 are generally not needed.

However, the public health department also linked the change to California's budget woes.

This is not a surprise that California has jumped on this new recommendation in order to help save money, and I would not be shocked to see other financially strapped states follow suit. Once that happens, we will see that insurance companies will eventually do the same.

According to a report at NPR, the task force's recommendations will hit black women the hardest:

Many African-American women don't fit the profile of the average American woman who gets breast cancer. For them, putting off the first mammogram until 50 -- as recommended by a government task force -- could put their life in danger.

"One size doesn't fit all," says Lovell Jones, director of the Center for Research on Minority health at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Jones says the guidelines recently put out by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force covered a broad segment of American women based on the data available. "Unfortunately," he says, "the data on African-Americans, Hispanics and to some extent Asian-Americans is limited."

The report says that black women die at significantly higher rates from breast cancer than white women do. One of the possible reasons for this descrepancy is that black women don't get screened as often or as early as white women, a trend that will be most likely be exacerbated by California's (and any additional state's) decision to implement the task force's recommendations.


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Comments (24)

Kalifornia is RACIST!... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Kalifornia is RACIST!

"The report says that bl... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

"The report says that black women die at significantly higher rates from breast cancer than white women do. One of the possible reasons for this descrepancy is that black women don't get screened as often or as early as white women, a trend that will be most likely be exacerbated by California's (and any additional state's) decision to implement the task force's recommendations."

Getting health insurance for all Americans should be a priority and I suspect that a higher percentage of black Americans go without adequate health care and insurance as a result of the high cost of health insurance and the disproportionate number of black Americans in the low and low-middle income brackets.

So, of course Kim supports health care reform that will provide health insurance coverage for low-income people!

Oh, wait - no she doesn't.

So what's her point here? Is she really concerned about the health of black American women?

Obviously, no. she's concerned about whatever bits of news she can scrape together to support and carry the water for the GOP in their efforts to stop health care reform and other programs designed to help low-income Americans.

And as usual, Steve, you're... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

And as usual, Steve, you're reflexively opposed to any and all comments Kim makes.

All she's saying is that early detection of cancer is a worthy goal, and that it's a fundamentally stupid place to save money. How in the world can you POSSIBLY be opposed to THAT?

Idiot.

Who is opposed to health ca... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Who is opposed to health care screenings for low and middle income people?

Those who oppose a public option in the current health care reform - that's who.

That includes Kim.

"Who is opposed to healt... (Below threshold)
914:

"Who is opposed to health care screenings for low and middle income people?

Those who oppose a public option in the current health care reform - that's who"


I oppose stupidity too. But You just keep right on posting.

The demacreeps rush to socialized Obamascare is nothing more than an even bigger centralized Gov with another slush fund for them to rape, pillage and plunder in a fashion remniscent of Ghengis Kahn.

s green "Who is oppose... (Below threshold)
Marc:

s green "Who is opposed to health care screenings for low and middle income people? Those who oppose a public option in the current health care reform - that's who. That includes Kim.

Geesh, talk about carrying someone's water, you've hit on a all too common libturd talking point.

Just ignore the fact those opposed to this monstrosity currently going thru congress aren't opposed to reform but opposed to it's current form.

And BTW, can you provide ANY quote by Kim that backs up your assertion?

Over the weekend, the Senat... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Over the weekend, the Senate decided by a 53-43 vote to cut home nursing care from Medicare, "saving" another $43 billion to help "pay for" Obamacare.

Are PAP smears, colonoscopies and prostate exams REELY worthwhile? How much can we save by discouraging the rampant use of needlessly expensive chemotherapy drugs? How many joint replacements can we discourage by taxing them as a poor use of public money on worn-out old people? How many wheelchairs can we avoid squandering money on? All of these questions will inevitably be evaluated by whatever bureaucracy comes out of your "public" option, and they will be decided largely on a budgetary basis. You'll feel differently about it when it's your elder relatives that get a pain shot, some death counselling and a goodbye handshake.

Rationing is an inescapable, undeniable part of government-controlled healthcare, and retirees will be its cruelest victims.

That is fundamentally and morally wrong.

The American people don't want this must-pass-no-matter-what legislation, and it has been turned into a reprehensible political power play by Obama and the Democrats.

Low-income women are probab... (Below threshold)
mag:

Low-income women are probably on Medicaid/State Aid. This is what happens when you depend on the gov't for your healthcare. In a perfect world you would like to see everyone have a good health ins plan. They are already getting health care and it is being paid by us taxpayors. This is why it good to get educated, get a decent job or whatever so you don't have to rely on the gov't. Imagine what they will cut if we are all on some kind of gov't plan.

By the way, why pick on mammograms...why not some other service that just involves men???

The GOP, who opposed Medica... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

The GOP, who opposed Medicare from the start and tried to dismantle Medicare a few years ago - are lying - and the simple facts of the matter is that no Medicare benefits will be cut -huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/02/aarp-backs-democrats-on-m_n_377582.html"

As Republicans pressed to restore the cuts, AARP said Democrats merely were recommending elimination of waste and inefficiency within the giant health care program for seniors.

"Most importantly, the legislation does not reduce any guaranteed Medicare benefits," A. Barry Rand, the AARP's CEO, said in a letter to senators.

Republicans are lying through their teeth in a desperate effort to return themselves to the power they had to lie to the American public for 8 long years during the Bush adminstration.

My wife and mother are both... (Below threshold)
Harmon:

My wife and mother are both breast cancer survivors - detected in their 40s. My sister is also a survivor, detected in her early 30s. You better bet that with 2 daughters, I take this very seriously. If the government is the only option and the new "guidelines" are in effect, my daughters may never live long enough to qualify for a mammogram. Screw you and your government health care steve green.

Of course nobody is talking... (Below threshold)
Victory is Ours:

Of course nobody is talking about government insurance being the only option.

Much handwringing about nothing.... the usual conservative position.

Vic

Several prominent dems incl... (Below threshold)
Harmon:

Several prominent dems including the big zero have said that single payer is their ultimate goal. That is effectively government health care. Screw you too vic

By the way I am a life insu... (Below threshold)
Harmon:

By the way I am a life insurance actuary with over 25 years in the business. So I have seen up close the results, both good and bad, from past "reforms". In general the reforms that expand consumer choices and control have been good and successful. Those that have limited consumer choice and control have exacerbated the problems. In general the reforms pushed by the dems have tended to be the latter sort. So the current push is not a surprise to anyone who has paid attention. The intent is to make things worse so they have the excuse to go for the end goal: government run health care.

"Several prominent dems ... (Below threshold)
Victory is Ours:

"Several prominent dems including the big zero have said that single payer is their ultimate goal. That is effectively government health care."

No, Obama never said that. You're wrong - comes from reading lies and watching Fox News. You actually believe the crap they make up?

Obama never said single-payer was his goal. You're just plain flat-out wrong. And I don't know of a single "prominent Democrat" who said that either.

How can you folks be so misinformed?

Vic

Well vic,Due to my... (Below threshold)
Harmon:

Well vic,

Due to my job, I generally spend a couple hours each day reading newspapers, trade journals and other information sources regarding insurance issues, thereby keeping abreast of those issues that may affect my company. I also help my now elderly parents keep up with changes to their medicare and supplemental insurance and other health care planning. I can safely am much more widely read and better informed than the average citizen. I find your rather selective memory tiresome and I will no longer be responding to your uninformed comments.

That's it, Vic. We're all s... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

That's it, Vic. We're all stupid, we can't think for ourselves and we're all lying.

That must be it.

<a href="http://www.youtube... (Below threshold)
Rich:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpAyan1fXCE

Have no idea if this link will work.

"Obama never said single-pa... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Obama never said single-payer was his goal."

Click the link Rich provided VIC.

Then you can make an entry quoting your Obamassiah. You know, the one where he says "I happen to be a proponent of single payer health care." Here's some more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-_SGGcJu_c

Once again, VIC is found to... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Once again, VIC is found to be full of shit.

It works Rich..The guy at t... (Below threshold)
914:

It works Rich..The guy at the podium does'nt but the link works.

"Obama never said single-payer was his goal. You're just plain flat-out wrong. And I don't know of a single "prominent Democrat" who said that either."

Hey Vic, The Liar in chief was at the podium in the link Rich provided. He said it, He meant it.. Now shut Your pie-hole.

Vic, you are a liar. Obama ... (Below threshold)
Greg:

Vic, you are a liar. Obama said it. I heard him. Fool.

Well done, Rich.Vi... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Well done, Rich.

Vic, are you going to apologize?

It appears that VIC has lef... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

It appears that VIC has left the building.

Obama's "Single Payer" stat... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Obama's "Single Payer" statement.

President Barack Obama has been prodding Congress to follow his principles on health care reform. He's advocating the same principles he supported during the campaign: Keeping employer-provided insurance in place, making it easier for people to shop for private insurance through a regulated exchange, expanding programs to help low-income people, and requiring large employers to offer insurance or contribute to a health care fund.

But at almost every town hall he's held, though -- five since March 26, 2009 -- Obama has been asked a variation of this question: Why won't you support a single-payer health care system?

"It seems to me," said a questioner at one of the town halls, "that we would take that same scenario and increase it outward for the entire country, and that is why I still support single-payer. And I know that at one point you did."

We've gotten similar messages from readers pointing us to a YouTube video as evidence that Obama once supported a single-payer plan, which the readers say indicates he has flip-flopped.

For those who haven't followed the details of health care reform, a single-payer health care system would mean the government pays hospitals and doctors directly for every person's health care. It's not socialized medicine, like in the United Kingdom, where the government owns the hospitals and doctors are government employees. In essence, it's Medicare, the government-sponsored health care plan for seniors, with no age restrictions.

The YouTube video, which isn't the greatest quality, shows Obama speaking in a meeting room to an audience that interrupts him from time to time with applause. A sign on the podium says "AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference," and Obama sounds like he's giving a campaign speech:

"I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its gross national product on health care, cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that's what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we've got to take back the White House, we've got to take back the Senate, and we've got to take back the House."

Reports on the Internet date this statement as June 30, 2003. (We'll address the alleged date more in just a bit.) That was a long time ago, but there's no statute of limitations for the Flip-O-Meter. The possibility that Obama may have flipped on the issue is relevant because Obama's conservative opponents sometimes claim that the public option -- health insurance run by government that acts as insurer of last resort -- is a stalking horse for a single-payer health care system. According to their theory, private insurance will wither in the face of a public option and Obama will get the single-payer system he secretly wants.

We reviewed Obama's public remarks and statements, and found no statements that quite match that video. To give you the context, in 2003, Obama was a second-term state senator and beginning a campaign to win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. The Democratic field was crowded -- there were candidates both better known and better funded than Obama -- and he was considered a long-shot at best. He ultimately won, but at the time, nobody was paying much attention to him.

In other statements, Obama has spoken favorably of single-payer in concept, but always adding qualifiers.

* In February 2004, about a month before the primary election in the U.S. Senate race, the Associated Press reported the stance of all the candidates on universal health care. "Obama says he supports the idea of universal health care but does not think a single-payer government system is feasible. He says the government should be the health care provider of last resort for the uninsured." In a rundown of all the candidates' positions, the Associated Press summarized Obama's position as "Support, but 'probably not at this stage,' a single-payer government system."
* In his book The Audacity of Hope , published in October 2006 when he was a U.S. senator, Obama described single-payer as the hope of the left, while those on the right wanted a market-based approach. "It's time we broke this impasse by acknowledging a few simple truths," Obama wrote, suggesting a system much like the one he supports today.
* In April 2007, a few months after he declared his candidacy for presidency, the Chicago Tribune reported, "Obama has pledged that, if elected, all Americans would have health-care coverage by the end of his first term. He has said he is reluctant to switch to a 'single-payer' national health insurance system because of the difficulty in making a quick transition from the employer-based private system."
* At his town halls as president, he routinely answers questions about single-payer by saying he would favor it if he were starting a system "from scratch." But he consistently adds that's not the goal of the current reform. "For us to transition completely from an employer-based system of private insurance to a single-payer system could be hugely disruptive, and my attitude has been that we should be able to find a way to create a uniquely American solution to this problem that controls costs but preserves the innovation that is introduced in part with a free-market system," Obama said in Annandale, Va., on July 1, 2009.


But the video strikes a very different tone from the remarks above.

To find out more about the video, we tracked down some of the people who worked on health care reform with Obama when he was a state senator in Illinois. Dr. Quentin Young said he has followed Obama's career since Obama first decided to run for state senator in 1995; he lives in Obama's Hyde Park neighborhood in Chicago. A longtime activist in health care matters, Young left his medical practice a few years ago to volunteer full time for Physicians for a National Health Program, a Chicago-based advocacy group for single-payer. The group features Obama as part of its Web site.

Young is an ardent supporter for single-payer, he said, because private insurers have an incentive to deprive people of care. "They do what they're supposed to do, which is maximize revenue, so they can pay their investors and their executives. Their profits are breathtaking and obscene" he said. "And you wonder why the health system is so costly."

Single-payer makes sense, he said, and Obama used to believe that, too. "It isn't as though this is an import from Europe or Canada. We have had 45 years of experience with Medicare," Young said.

Young believes he was in the room when the YouTube video was made, and if he wasn't, it's only because he heard Obama speak often in favor of a single-payer plan during 2003 and earlier, he said.

"As I recall, this was his categorical response, that he thinks single-payer is the way to go," Young said. "Over the years, there's been ever more edging on his part, to the point where what he has now is a multitiered program, but it ain't single-payer."

Young said the "Jim" Obama refers to in the video is Jim Duffett, director of the Illinois advocacy group Campaign for Better Health Care.

It's true, Duffett said, when we contacted him. He's the "Jim" in the video and was at the AFL-CIO speech. He remembered it as having been in December 2003, but it's possible it was in June, he said.

Yes, Obama did support single-payer, but Duffett said Obama also talked about the need to be strategic and work within political limitations, which he attributed to Obama's background as a community organizer.

"You have to figure out who's with you, who's against you, how you divide and conquer and move that football down the field," Duffett said. "It just can't be the same little group of liberals who have health insurance and sit around the table and verbalize their great policy ideas. You have to have more people than that."

Duffett said if the entire video were aired, it would show Obama making statements about the need to be practical, much like his later public statements.

"I've never felt that his core principles for accessible, guaranteed health care for everyone were ever compromised. He's an organizer, and you have to figure out as strategically as you can how to win," he said.

Duffett urges his supporters to strongly support the public option, the details of which are still in the works. If the public option gets passed and operates well, he said, perhaps it will lead to a single-payer system. "We truly believe a public health option will work to lessen those negative fallacies of what the role of the government can be," he said.

Young, on the other hand, calls the public option "wimpy" and part of "a really deceitful set of reforms" pushed by the health care industry to make sure they don't lose any of their profits, even if reform passes. "I don't think they'll even let a watered-down public option go forward. And if it does, they'll use their political clout to weaken it," he said.

Both Duffett and Young served on the Adequate Health Care Task Force, a 29-member state board created by the Illinois General Assembly in 2004 to research and recommend a health plan for the state. The legislation that created the board was the Health Care Justice Act, and its chief Senate sponsor was Barack Obama.

The chair of the board was Dr. Wayne Lerner, who holds a doctorate in public health policy and a master's degree in hospital administration. Lerner is currently the president of Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago.

We asked Lerner if Obama was a single-payer supporter when Obama was a state senator. Lerner said he didn't know what Obama's opinion was on the best health care model, though he definitely felt the task force had the freedom to explore all options.

"I never felt constrained one way or the other," Lerner said. "You're not going to find a smoking gun in the act or the task force that there was support for a single-payer system from Obama."

Lerner said he, like many others in Illinois, noticed that Obama moved more to the center on several issues during his run for president, and Lerner was pleased by that.

"There has to be compromise if we're going to have health care reform," he said.

But back to our ruling: Did Obama flip on support of single-payer, as the woman at the town hall implied? The video shows he plainly said, "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. ... A single-payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. That's what I'd like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we've got to take back the White House, we've got to take back the Senate, and we've got to take back the House." Well, Democrats now have the White House, and the Senate and the House. And Obama still doesn't support a single-payer system.

We also have at least one eyewitness -- the "Jim" mentioned in the video -- who says the 54-second snippet shown on YouTube isn't a full accounting of Obama's more nuanced position. And we have a single-payer supporter, Dr. Quentin Young, who said Obama definitely was for single-payer and switched.

So let's put this to the Flip-O-Meter. Opponents of Obama's health plan who watch the video see a stark flip (and possibly hints of what they believe he's wanted all along). Indeed, his comments seem quite clear that he supported a single-payer plan. But a full examination of his comments then and now reveals they have not changed that drastically. Yes, when he was trying to appeal to the Democratic base, he was a bigger supporter of the single-payer plan. But as we note, he still says that he'd prefer such a plan if he was starting from scratch.

So what we see here is a candidate who in 2003 was trying to appeal to a liberal electorate and today has moderated his comments to appeal to a broader national audience. That's a Half Flip in our view.




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